First Wilmington Boat Show called success by organizers

JBM & Associates, producers of the new Wilmington Boat Show, held Sept. 9-11, in downtown Wilmington, announced that this year’s show has set the stage has been set for longevity.

“In the 15 years I have been producing boat shows, I have never experienced a first-year show that I would consider a major success- until now,” said Show Founder and JBM & Associates President Jacqui Bomar.

Thom Cross, the general manager of MarineMax in Wrightsville Beach, N.C., had the biggest display at the show and said “The Wilmington Boat Show was an exceptional venue to display our boats for sale. I was pleased with the small boats in the water as well as our Yachts and there was ample space for trailered boats. The amount of traffic exceeded my highest expectation. What a first class way to introduce a top quality boat show at a new venue, in a new city. Not hundreds but thousands of participants were able to view the best brands in boating from the best dealers in the region, while enjoying the beautiful river view of downtown Wilmington, N.C.”

The show, held at the Wilmington Convention Center, Port City Marina and Pier 33, as well as across the Cape Fear River at Battleship Park was three years in the making.

“After planning for as long as we have and trying to get people to understand the scope of what we were creating, I think I can confidently say, we succeeded in doing what we set out to do,” Bomar said.

One of the major reasons Bomar feels they had so much success for the first year was due to the fact that Wilmington is the perfect location on the east coast for a major in-water boat show. With the tremendous amount of boaters in North Carolina alone and no other in-water show, the Port City Marina’s downtown location showcased boats of all makes and models to an audience of thousands of attendees.

“My team and I had reports from boat dealers who sold boats to attendees from Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Saint Louis and Michigan. Those are just the folks we had an opportunity to hear from,” said Bomar. “We had dozens of people flying into ILM, not only attendees, but people working the show as well. In fact, I made an airport run myself to bring someone to the airport during the show.”

“ILM was very proud to be the key sponsor for Wilmington’s FIRST Boat Show.  As an exhibitor, we experienced first-hand, the enthusiasm of the guests, vendors and dealers, many of whom traveled from out of the area. We believe the seeds for future attendees to fly, boat, or drive in were planted, and that the economic impact to the Port City will continue to grow.  We look forward to being a part of the next Boat Show produced by JBM and Associates,” said Carol LeTellier, business development director for ILM, the presenting sponsor for the show.

Major boat shows can do a lot for a region due to the potential for economic impact. When thousands of people flock to a city for several days to a week from all over the country, they stay in hotels, shop, eat in restaurants, use transportation services and more.

“Throughout the three-day show, we received so much positive feedback from both attendees and exhibitors. We have already received contracts for next year’s show. This is a great sign for things to come. We understand the landscape will continue to evolve and we are excited to grow the Wilmington Boat Show and evolve as well,” said Bomar.

The Wilmington Boat Show was presented by ILM and sponsored by Allstate Insurance Company, Yamaha Motor Corporation, Gulfstream Yachts, Maritime Insurance International, Gregory Poole CAT, Epic Finance, Marathon Specialty Finance and Wilmington Water Tours.

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